This story is the first of three completed novels in which fictional Vienna Police Inspector Karl Marbach is a central character. It takes place in mid April of 1938, one month after the Anschluss, the Nazi annexation of Austria. In the war that began in 1914, Marbach was awarded the highest medal bestowed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Now he works for Vienna Criminal Police—Vienna Kripo. Although born into a poor family, he identifies with the deposed Habsburgs. From that identification, he derives his strong sense of honor. In his work and in his life, he prides himself on being guided by reason, not emotion. His lover is Volkstheater actress Constanze Tandler. He is concerned that his actress lover’s highly emotional, deeply passionate hatred of Nazism is futile and is putting her in danger. In addition to his lover, he has a wife, who is a very good woman. His teenage daughter, to the distress of him and his wife, is attracted to Nazism. But they both recognize that if their daughter doesn't openly profess devotion to Nazism, she won’t be safe in post-Anschluss Vienna.